Bring Down Mosquitos With a Bat House

It looks like a plain, brown box, but inside holds the most all-natural mosquito repellent available: bats. Find out how to make a bat house and how to conquer any fears about the mysterious mammal.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

Dreading the insects that come with warming temperatures? Bats can help banish bugs.

Their cape-like wings and pointy teeth aren’t exactly endearing qualities. So why are people inviting bats onto their property? Building them houses? Well, it turns out bats aren’t as bad as they seem. In fact, they do a lot of good.

 

Bat House Benefits

Richard Neal was checking out his granddaughter’s Ranger Rick magazine when he came across a story about bats eating mosquitoes. According to Jessica Kindall, sales manager at Wild Birds Unlimited, it’s estimated they eat their weight in the bugs every night. “They weigh a few grams,” Kindall says. “When you add up that many mosquitoes, it must be hundreds.” 

 

Banishing Bat Fears

The real bloodsuckers aren’t bats. They’re mosquitoes. In addition to causing incessant itching,
mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases. Some fear bats and rabies, but this isn’t common. “A very small percentage of a couple of different species have rabies,” Kindall says. There are hundreds of species in the Ozarks (all small bats). Some would rather risk mosquito bites than a bat flying into their hair. That’s also not likely. “They fly 10 to 20 feet in the air, only swooping down if there’s a reason,” Kindall says. “Your hair wouldn’t be a reason.”

 

Building a Bat House

Neal found building instructions for his bat house online. “I used to be a cabinet builder so I have the tools,” he says. “It took me an hour.” Bat houses need to be made of solid wood that can get wet. Cedar is a durable, insect-resistant choice. Helpful tips for building a successful house can be found at habitatforbats.org and batmanagement.com. The Springfield Conservation Nature Center also offers building plans, and Wild Birds Unlimited sells pre-made bat houses and telescoping poles. 

 

Bat House Installation

Install houses on a free-standing pole, at least 10 to 15 feet off the ground, to keep predators away. A telescoping pole offers easy access to monitor progress. It may take weeks or even years for bats to take up residence. “It’s like a bird house,” Kindall says. “You can’t really tell a bird to move in. They just have to find it.” If patience doesn’t provide results, try another area of the yard. Most houses start with fewer than 100 bats and grow over time. This means guano (feces) and urine, so install it at least 50 feet from the house, away from high-traffic areas. (Bat guano, by the way, is a wonderful fertilizer!) Like it or not, bats will be flying around this summer. Kindall says it’s “mind over matter.” Try to think of those cape-like wings as more “superhero” than vampire. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More Articles Like This

The Future of 417-land

Dreamers, schemers and big thinkers imagine the road ahead.

Celebrate 20 Years with Us!

Say cheers to 20 years! We are celebrating 417 Magazine‘s 20th anniversary, and we want you to join the party.

Human Trafficking on I-44

It’s no secret that human trafficking—a shadowy and complex crime that’s particularly hard to track and prosecute—exists in Missouri. Here in 417-land, our location along the I-44 corridor puts us among the local hot spots where trafficking has cropped up and grown recently. We take a look at how local law enforcement, nonprofit leaders and regional advocates are taking a stand against trafficking and supporting survivors.
Edit Module
Edit Module
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Sign up for our newsletters Follow us on Instagram

Edit ModuleShow Tags

  1. Faces of 417-Land 2018
    Tried and true. Locally loved. Contributors to our community. 417 Magazine points you to the...
  2. Human Trafficking on I-44
    It’s no secret that human trafficking—a shadowy and complex crime that’s particularly...
  3. 50 Things Every 417-Lander Must Do
    When do you know you’ve become fully initiated into your home? You can start by trying all the...
  4. Beneath the Surface: Controversy on the Buffalo National River
    Since C&H Hog Farms opened its 2,500-sow operation in the Buffalo National River watershed in...
  5. The Future of 417-land
    Dreamers, schemers and big thinkers imagine the road ahead.
Edit Module
Edit Module